21 days ago, I decided to put my excuses aside and face my biggest addiction by giving up sweets for 40 days. This decision coincided with the beginning of Lent, which is a season of sacrifice. I could think of no better way to prove my dedication than by sacrificing something that has been my weakness ever since I can remember: sugar. I am now officially halfway done with my own personal sugar challenge.
Many people have been asking me for more details about this challenge, and today I am here to share my biggest challenges and successes thus far. The sugar challenge is far from over, however, I am proud of how far I have come in just 21 days. After 21 days I am now finally able to be around others who are eating dessert or drinking a Coke, without my mouth watering and willpower dwindling.
Giving up sugar was a decision that I had been considering for a few months, pretty much since the beginning of 2018. Each night that I joyfully indulged in an enormous bowl of ice cream, there was always a little voice inside my head that told me it was too much. As my addiction to sugar developed further, I found myself filling my bowl to the top, adding just a little more every few weeks.
This sugar addiction never seemed to physically catch up to me while I was maintaining an active lifestyle, but I always wondered what it was actually doing to my health. Giving up sweets cold turkey seemed very exciting at first, until about day 2 when I realized how long 40 days actually was. The first day was full of motivation and determination, until the reality sunk in the next day. The first week with no sugar was incredibly challenging. Week 2 remained a bit of a roller coaster, fluctuating between feeling really confident and proud, to feeling really irritated that I couldn’t just have some M&Ms.
As time has passed, I’ve gotten much more stable and am already feeling so much better. Whether or not it’s the placebo effect – I’ll take it. My biggest challenge has been finding snacks that satisfy me and keep me full for longer. I did not fully realize how many calories I was consuming each day in sweets until I stopped eating them all together. I found myself way hungrier than I’ve ever been before, and trying to balance this increase in hunger with an increase in my running mileage was tricky.
Now it’s day 22, and I am finally feeling stable and confident in my ability to continue. The past few weeks have been a time of experimentation, which seems to be paying off. I have found some healthy snack ideas that not only keep me full throughout the day, but snacks that I also look forward to eating. Today I want to share these simple, easy healthy snack ideas with you! These healthy snacks have been life saving in this time full of non stop sugar cravings.
Healthy Snack Ideas to Avoid Sugar Cravings
Protein Energy Balls
Creating some protein balls has by far been my biggest success of this sugar challenge thus far. After researching a bunch of different healthy snack ideas, I kept coming across recipes for protein energy balls. Most of the recipes I found had chocolate chips in them, so I decided to create my own and see how they turned out. I love them! I was very skeptical because I am not a huge peanut butter fan, but I really love everything about these. (I think I love them because there is so much honey in them:).
This is the recipe I came up with:
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 1/2 cup oats
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 scoop protein powder
- 1/2 cup raisins
All you have to do is melt the peanut butter and honey together. Once that is done, combine all the ingredients together and shape them into balls. (I really struggled with this in the beginning because they were so sticky, but I discovered that if I rolled them out between my palms it worked much better than trying to form them with my fingers).
A few weeks prior to starting my sugar challenge, my husband and I prepped a bunch of smoothies to keep in our freezer. I wanted to test out a bunch of different kinds to find one that would satisfy me while I couldn’t have ice cream. And it worked! It wasn’t long before I found my favorite smoothie: Peaches and Cream. I sorted through a bunch of recipes on Pinterest and then ended up changing them to make my own.
Here is what I used:
- 1/2 cup peaches
- 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3-4 ice cubes
So simple, and yet it tastes exactly like an orange creamsicle. The first time I tried this smoothie I found it hard to believe that it was actually healthy for me and had to keep reminding myself what was in it!
I used to mention frozen grapes a lot, but in the past year I have really forgotten about them. Frozen grapes have the same consistency as ice cream which make them a thousand times better than regular grapes (it really is the little things). These have been really satisfying at night when I am used to eating something cold and refreshing!
Crackers and Cheese
Applesauce has been a great snack to eat quickly that actually tastes very sweet. If you’re looking for fully natural applesauce, you can go with the unsweetened kind, or if you’re allowing yourself some slack you can get some flavors (Cinnamon is my favorite)!
Kiwi is something that I used to bring in my lunch every day and then completely forgot about! I saw it a few weeks ago at the grocery store and bought some, and am so glad I did. Kiwi is so sweet on it’s own that it almost tastes like the sugary snacks I used to eat. This is refreshing and always worth the time it takes to peel.
Bread with Honey
Another snack that really satisfies my sweet tooth. During my sugar challenge I decided that I will still be eating natural sugars, such as those found in honey. Honey has always been one of my favorite condiments and eating it with bread in the evening has really been working.
So far, I am so happy with my progress during this sugar challenge. There is still a ways to go, so we’ll see what all happens in the second half. I can’t wait to share everything that I’ve learned and all of the changes I’ve experienced when the challenge is over. Happy fueling!